California Flooding Damage Estimates Top $30B
CALIFORNIA—February 16, 2023—Beginning after Christmas and continuing into mid-January, heavy rain across California caused massive flooding, mudslides, and extensive damage in 40 of the state’s 58 counties, killing 20 people, according to the Los Angeles Times. Rivers overflowed their banks, roads closed, and residents were forced to evacuate. More than 500 landslides blocked roads with dirt and rocks, and downed trees caused power outages. Infrastructure and agriculture were severely affected, along with damages to homes and businesses.
The state has begun the long process of recovery as damage assessments are ongoing, but early estimates from AccuWeather suggest this extreme weather event will cost California more than $30 billion. These damages are exacerbated by the fact that most California homeowners do not have flood insurance. MarketWatch notes that the most prominent climate phenomena Californians typically face are drought and wildfires. Less than 2% of California’s 14.5 million homes are covered by flood insurance. Experts caution that as climate change increases the frequency of unusual and severe weather events, homeowners can’t rely on old assumptions about the type of insurance needed to protect their property.